BALTIMORE -- Make no mistake, Michael Gonzalez wants back the Orioles' closer role.
"That's the reason I signed here," Gonzalez said prior to Tuesday's game. "There were three or four other teams I could have gone to. People said it was because of the money, it wasn't because of the money. It was because of the opportunity I was going to get here."
A free agent signed to a two-year, $12 million deal this offseason, Gonzalez was booed by the fans at Camden Yards in the Orioles' home opener and pitched to a 18.00 ERA -- courtesy of two blown saves -- in three outings before hitting the 60-day disabled list.
Since returning on July 21, he has a 1.13 ERA (1 ER/8 IP) in seven outings and has showcased a cleaner delivery, improved velocity and command. Gonzalez says it's just simply a byproduct of finally being healthy.
"It s one of those things where I feel better overall," said. "I had three outings [earlier this season] and I was hurt, so it's not like I really lost the job."
Still, Orioles interim manager Juan Samuel relied on Alfredo Simon in the ninth inning and new manager Buck Showalter will have to make that decision going forward. Gonzalez, who tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings in Tuesday's 6-3 win, said he doesn't plan on talking to Showalter about being the team's closer. He'd prefer his pitching does the talking.
"He knows what's going on," Gonzalez said of Showalter, who has made it clear he has substantial research on his new team. "You put who you feel is the best pitcher out there [to close].
"I'm not going to go in and state my case. It is what it is. I am just going to show it with my actions every time I'm out there."
Showalter has first meeting with new squad
BALTIMORE -- Orioles' new manager Buck Showalter met with the team for the first time at 3:20 p.m. ET on Tuesday, almost four hours prior to taking the field against the Angels. While Showalter and the players declined to get into specifics about the meeting, the overall message was just going out and playing hard.
"I think it's his job to put the players in a position to succeed, and I'm pretty sure he will do that" first baseman Ty Wigginton said. "Everything he's accomplished in this game speaks for itself. I'm sure all of the players are well aware of that."
Showalter, whose contract runs through 2013, is the third manager for the Orioles this season. Dave Trembley, who went 15-39, started the season and was fired on May 13. Juan Samuel's tenure as the interim manager ended Sunday at Kansas City, going 17-34.
Unlike the previous two skippers for the Orioles, Showalter has a wealth of experience with a career record of 882-833 over 11 seasons and was twice named Manager of the Year. The Orioles are hopeful he can lead them out of the doldrums even as they head toward their 13th consecutive losing season.
Before the game, Showalter also talked extensively to second baseman Brian Roberts and outfielder Nick Markakis alone in right field.
"I tried to get a little feedback ... [it's a] little quiet right now," Showalter said. "We'll get that one-on-one. I have to keep in mind this is the third time they've done this."
Markakis said regardless of whom is managing the team, the players need to perform. He said the key is that the team knows Showalter is being viewed as a long-term answer and will likely be around for several seasons.
"It was pretty simple," Markakis said about the first meeting. "He pretty much came in and told us how it was going to be. We're all ready to get started. The biggest thing is we have a manager we know is going to be here."
The players are hoping the continuity with Showalter could eventually lead to more wins -- as long as the team performs.
"We no longer have to worry about if so-and-so is going to be here next week," Wigginton said. "Let's just go out and focus on baseball."
O's lineup remains the same under Showalter
BALTIMORE -- New manager Buck Showalter made his debut Tuesday night, but didn't plan on making any dramatic shakeups to the Orioles' lineup.
Showalter maintained essentially the same lineup the team used over the weekend in Kansas City. Brian Roberts resumed his usual spot as the leadoff hitter and Matt Wieters also returned to the lineup after taking the day off Sunday.
"I did some cross-checking, you know, 'He hits here most of the time,'" Showalter said. "My question today is how did we get to that point. You don't get that at ESPN watching 15 games at one time."
Showalter has been following the team closely and said he has a solid grasp on the team's personnel. Now, it's just a matter of time before he puts his personal stamp on the team.
"I got a pretty good feel for what is going on, what their feelings are," Showalter said. "I'm going to stay close to that early on and see what develops. I know what I feel in my gut right now. But I want to have some things verified with what I see on the field."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for and Todd Karpovich is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.